The sharpening stone or whetstone is a rudimentary tool designed for sharpening all types of blades. This tool has been around for centuries and is still used today. Blades are sharpened by grinding the sharp edges over the surface of whetstones. The abrasive surface of this stone helps hone the blade, which helps it maintain its extremely sharp nature.
Sharpening stones are made from either natural or artificial materials. There are also several types of sharpening stones, each with varying degrees of abrasion. For example, some artificial sharpening stones provide two abrasive sides. The coarse side is for sharpening while the side with the finer surface is used for finishing the blade. Having a sharpening stone will help ensure and prolong the quality of your blade by preventing it from getting dull.
In this article, we will be taking a look at the most reliable quality sharpening stones in the market today. We will also be discussing the essential characteristics to look for in a quality sharpening stone as well as the various types available and how to use this type of tool properly.
In a hurry and need a quick lowdown of our most recommended products in this list?
No worries as we have filtered three of our most recommended sharpening stone brands from our in-depth list for your convenience.
Best Overall: Smith's TRI-6 Arkansas TRI-HONE Sharpening Stones System
The Smith's TRI-6 Sharpening Stone System is a decently sized stone that can be used not only for kitchen knives, but also wood chisels, plane iron blades, and even small hatchets. With an affordable price tag, the number of uses that this sharpening stone can provide is an excellent choice for newbies.
High-end Pick: Shun Combination Whetstone Knife Sharpener
A little bit more expensive, but if you have a high-quality knife set, then a high-quality sharpening stone is a must. The Shun Combination Whetstone is incredibly easy to use and is just as effective in returning your blades to peak condition in a flash.
Budget Pick: CWINDY 1000/6000 Grit Sharpening Stone
If you are looking for a simple and budget-friendly sharpening stone that offers more than you would expect from its price range, the CWINDY is one that you should check out. While the angle of the flattening stone could have been better, this sharpening stone is still one of the most reliable and better-quality choices in its price bracket.
Different Uses of the Sharpening Stone
Before we head on over to our 'Best Of' list, I think it is better first to tackle the basics of this tool. While it is a rudimentary tool, it is still better to fully understand and grasp its uses to optimize results when using the sharpening stone system. As the name implies, this is a sharpening tool. Thus, it is primarily used with blades such as:
- Kitchen knives
- Plane blades
- Reusable razors
The above tools are the ones that will benefit from a sharpening stone. It will ensure that these tools will maintain the best possible quality even after years of use.
The Different Types of Sharpening Stones
As we have already noted previously in this article, there are several types of sharpening stone in the market. Each incorporates different material that offers different results. Choosing which is the best will be subjective to where you plan on applying this tool. Here are the types of sharpening stones as well as the specific advantages that they provide:
#1. Water Stones
Water stone types are defined as sharpening stones which work best when water is applied as the primary lubricant to its surface. Water stones can be made from natural and artificial materials. These are also the most common types of sharpening stones that you can find.
#2. Japanese Sharpening Stones
Japanese sharpening stones are the best of the best in this category. These tools are made from the highest quality natural material such as extremely fine silica-rich stone. This is also called Japanese water stones as it is recommended to soak it underwater for an hour before using to get the best results.
#3. Arkansas Sharpening Stones
Another high-quality type of sharpening stone are ones that use Arkansas stones as its primary material. This type of sharpening stone is made from novaculite, which is a variety of quartz mineral with an exceptionally high silicon dioxide content. As the name implies, this type of stone is most commonly found in the U.S., specifically in the Ouachita Mountains of, you guessed it, the state of Arkansas.
#4. Dry Sharpening Stones
These are the types that do not require any lubrication. The most common type of dry sharpening stones is the ceramic and industrial diamond. Typically, to use a sharpening stone, one must first lubricate its surface with either water or oil. With dry sharpening stones, this step is unnecessary.
What is the Sharpening Stone Grade?
Another important aspect of sharpening stones that you must understand is the grading system. Basically, the sharpening stones' grit, or the rough particles that are embedded into the stone, come in five different levels:
- Super Fine
Distinguishing the different grades are pretty straightforward. Basically, the Coarse stones are ideal for heavy-duty work such as reshaping damaged blades. The Medium grade sharpening stone is best suited for sharpening, specifically. While the Fine and Super Fine graded stones are used for polishing blades that have already gone through the sharpening process either via Coarse or Medium grade stones.
Take note that sharpening stones made from synthetic materials can have Coarse/Fine grading. As we have stated earlier, this is because these types of sharpening stones have two sides of different sharpening grades.
Sharpening Stone Buying Guide
This is a rudimentary tool so we won't have too many factors to consider when buying one at your local hardware store. Still, there is information that will greatly benefit beginners who are currently looking for a sharpening stone.
#1. The Grit Of A Sharpening Stone
A good number to get is a #400 and #1000 Grit whetstone. These two will be able to provide you with the ability to both polishes a dull blade or repair minor chips on the edge of your standard kitchen knives. If you are working on a single-sided knife, then you should definitely go with sharpening stones with #3000 or above grit rating.
#2. The Size Of It
You have to ensure that your sharpening stone offers the correct size to accommodate all of your kitchen knives. A safe size here is 70mm x 200mm and above. This should be able to cover almost all sizes of kitchen knives.
#3. Materials: Ceramic, Synthetic, or Natural Stones?
For beginners, the safest choice here is with synthetic sharpening stones. These types are the easiest to use as it requires the least amount of skill. It is also easy to maintain and should last a good amount of time before the need for a replacement. However, if you are already well-versed in honing blades/knives and require something that will be able to achieve peak quality results, then you can never go wrong with natural and ceramic sharpening stones.
The 5 Best Sharpening Stones For Kitchen Knives Reviews In 2020
Here is the list of 5 best sharpening stones, in separated headings. After hours of researching, we lay down some details and recommendations for you, which hope to make your decision to be more precise.
#1. Smith's TRI-6 Arkansas TRI-HONE Sharpening Stones System
Built for flexibility and ease of use, the Smith's TRI-6 Arkansas TRI-HONE is a three-in-one sharpening system that offers Fine, Medium, and Coarse grade honing. It also combines the top-notch quality of an Arkansas stone with the versatility of synthetic stone.
This sharpening stone has a rotating hard plastic case feature which allows you to switch between the three types of honing stones. It also offers excellent stability thanks to non-skid rubber feet on the bottom base. Beginners will also welcome the angle guide, which helps in positioning the blade properly for optimum honing results.
Affordable and incredibly versatile. The Smith's TRI-6 Arkansas Sharpening Stone System is a perfect choice for beginners looking to return their knife set back to its former glory.
#2. Trilancer Professional Knife Sharpening Stone 3000/8000 Whetstone
The Trilancer sharpening stone is designed for use on a broad range of blades from kitchen knives to gardening tools. This is a multi-purpose whetstone designed for ease of use. The rubber base provides maximum grip on every surface and ensures that the Trilancer sharpening stone stays in place at all times. You can choose between different levels of grit from 400 to 8000 – this pretty much covers all types of blades under the sun! This item also comes with a one-year warranty which shows the level of confidence that Trilancer has in their product.
Overall, the Trilancer Pro Knife Sharpening Stone is a highly reliable tool for taking care of your kitchen knives. It comes in grit levels of 400 to 8000 which pretty much covers all your blade sharpening needs. I do like to note that this product does seem to suffer from poor packaging as there are several complaints online of the item being received in a damaged state.
#3. Shun Combination Whetstone For Knife Sharpening (300 & 1000 Grit)
The Shun Combination Whetstone features a dual-sided design with 300 and 1000 grit. With this sharpening stone, you can hone (1000 grit) and apply the finishing touches (300 grit) to all of your kitchen knives. This is also a Japanese manufactured sharpening stone, so you know it is a high-quality blade honing tool. It also comes with a rubber non-slip base to ensure absolute stability when sharpening your knife set.
With a slightly higher price tag, the Shun Combination Whetstone might give you pause. That is until you discover that this is a legit Japanese sharpening stone which is reason to buy in itself. It also comes in a highly presentable package which makes it a nice house warming gift, as well.
#4. CWINDY Sharpening Stone, 1000/6000 Grit Angle Guide, Bamboo Base and Fix Stone Included
Here we have the winner of the budget pick from our Editor's Quick Pick section. While there is an entry in this list that is slightly cheaper, we chose the CWINDY based on the overall quality that it brings to the table. This is a 2-in-1 sharpening tool that is made from Japanese imported aluminum oxide which makes it an ideal sharpening tool for not only your kitchen knife but other tools as well.
Additionally, the CWINDY does not require oil before use. Like most Japanese sharpening stones, the CWINDY only requires being submerged underwater for about an hour before use. Other notable features include a handy eBook guide and a non-slip rubber base.
Affordable with excellent blade honing capabilities. The CWINDY Sharpening Stone is a great choice for beginners or those who need something cheap and relatively reliable in maintaining their kitchen knife set. Be warned though that its durability and longevity is still in question, still, with a price that low – this issue is somewhat expected.
#5. Kota Japan Combination Dual Sided 3000-8000 Grit Diamond Knife Sharpener
Here we have another Japanese sharpening tool in the form of the Kota Japan Dual-Sided Diamond Knife Sharpener. As noted, this features a dual-sided design which provides users with a 600 and 3000 grit surface to work on. The 600-grit side can effortlessly hone blades while the 1000-grit side can finish the job by polishing it further. It also has a robust bamboo base with a rubber bottom for enhanced stability and grip.
There are an angle guide and eBook that comes along with the product as well. Kota also offers its products with a 30-day satisfaction guarantee and a fantastic lifetime warranty. If you are looking for a quality Japanese sharpening stone, you can't go wrong with what Kota has to offer.
Not only is this a highly reliable sharpening tool, but it also comes with a design that exudes that classy Japanese style. The extra angle guide and eBook are just icing on the cake with this top-notch quality whetstone. Be forewarned though that we have noticed complaints regarding the package getting damaged during transition.
Tips in Using Sharpening Stones
In this section, we will be discussing how to use sharpening stones to obtain optimum results properly. Knowing how to use each type will crucial if you wish to sharpen your blades properly.
#1. Secure the Sharpening Stone
For those who plan on using the coarse grade sharpening stones, it is essential to make sure the stone is secured in place. This allows for more vigorous work as you won't have to worry about the stone sliding off. This will also prevent accidents from occurring when going about honing your kitchen knives and blades, in general.
When it comes to choosing the lubrication, it is crucial to know that whichever you choose will be a permanent fixture for that specific sharpening stone. For example, if used oil as the main lubricant, you must use that throughout the lifespan of that sharpening stone. Of course, you can opt for the common type of lubricant for sharpening stones – water. Submerging your Japanese sharpening stone underwater for about an hour will suffice while common whetstones will do with just brief immersions.
#2. Getting the Proper Angle
Honing is the process of brushing the edge of the blade across the surface of the sharpening stone. When it comes to honing, the angle will be the key factor. Ideally, you should angle the blade at around 15-20° when brushing it across or performing a crisscross motion. You should also note that a higher angle will result in a more durable blade while a lower angle honing will give you a sharper blade, but at the cost of durability.
Another tip for optimizing honing results is to press your fingers on the top of the blade when brushing or grinding it across the sharpening stone. This will provide it with an even and consistent pressure throughout the honing process. Remember to switch to the other side of the blade and apply the above techniques to achieve the best possible level of sharpness.
Keep in mind that the material of the sharpening stone is just one factor and is not the 'be all, end all' aspect when buying one. The biggest factor here is the skill of the person using the sharpening stone. Don't worry if your first couple of tries yielded less than flattering results. As with everything, practice makes perfect. This is why we recommended products that offer angle guides as this considerably helps in perfecting the art of honing a blade.